Firefighters battling Bearing wildfire planning for what could happen after the rain

TRINITY CO., TX (KTRE) – Drought conditions do not go away overnight.  Firefighters were able to be more aggressive with their firefighters efforts because of recent rains, however, they face the threat of the fire jumping unsecured lines if the wind picks up.

Smoke from the largest wildfire in East Texas still lingers in Trinity County.  Fire crews remain diligent as they work to contain portions of the more than 20 thousand acre wildfire. "The areas east of Trevat, that's where we have the most unsecured line and along Alabama Creek, so that's where crews are focusing their efforts today," said Jason Curry with the "Bearing" Wildfire Incident Management Team.

The Bearing fire is 60 percent contained, but the rain has allowed crews to make progress, so, that number could improve.

"It's not over yet, these thunderstorms are going to cause a little bit of a lull in fire activity, but as the sun comes out and things heat up and dry out as far as our relative humidities, we're going to see more fire activity," said Curry.

After several days of fighting the fire to save homes, with no pay, volunteer firefighters have been able to go back to work. "We will actually leave the command, but we will be on-call 24 hours a day in case something happens," said Chief David Mueller, Groveton Fire Department.  "They've put in a lot of hard work and a lot of hard days and hard nights, so we want to get them some rest and get ready for anything that might pop up next."

Trinity County Judge Doug Page hopes someone will help foot the bill to fight the massive blaze.

"No we do not plan for something this big. There is state help and there is federal help and that's just something we'll have to pursue once we make sure that the fire is suppressed," said Judge Page.

They drained the county's emergency fund shortly after the first spark last Friday.

"It's one of the biggest disasters in the history of East Texas, so I just can't see them not helping us out with it," said Judge Page.

For now, they will lean on the generosity of community volunteers.  "You go home and you say you're going to rest, but knowing that any second the pagers will go off and we're up and running again doing the same thing," said Chief Mueller.

There will be another meeting Thursday night at 8 at the Centerville School in Trinity County, off Highway 94, between Lufkin and Groveton.  Residents will be updated on both the Bearing and Power Line fires.

One other note, Trinity County has issued an order that outlaws the sale or use of fireworks.  The order is effective immediately.

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